LEONARDO da Vinci
(b. 1452, Vinci, d. 1519, Cloux, near Amboise)
St John the Baptist1513-16
Oil on panel, 69 x 57 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris
St John the Baptist is looking at the observer impressively and declaring his identity by means of gestures and gazes. The picture is probably one of the three works which Antonio de Beads saw in Leonardo's studio in Clos-Lucé in 1517. It is the last painting to be produced by Leonardo himself, and was probably already completed in Rome. (The attribution is without any doubts since the X-ray investigation carried out in 1952.)
The Pinacoteca Ambrosiana in Milan owns a further version that depicts St John in a landscape, which is related to the painting of the Madonna and Child with St Anne in the Louvre.